Abstracts (first author)
Quantitative trait loci for behavior, growth and body size in the nine-spined stickleback Pungitius pungitius L.
Genetic architecture of ecologically important traits, such as behavior and body size, are as yet relatively little studied in wild animals. Using F2-intercross (n = 283 offspring) between behaviorally and growth strategically divergent nine-spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) populations, we explored the genetic underpinnings of growth and behavioral traits describing different aspects of activity and boldness with the aid of quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses based on 226 microsatellite markers. The behaviors were analyzed separately (viz. feeding activity, risk-taking, exploration) and also in combination to map “behavioral types”. Significant (experiment wide) QTLs were detected for both trait groups. In addition, suggestive (chromosome wide) QTLs were also detected. The results also showed that loci affecting size and growth traits were located in some cases in the same chromosomal region as loci affecting behavior of the nine-spined stickleback. The results found in these studies lay the foundations for fine mapping these traits and provide a starting point for identification genes responsible for the size and behavior differences between marine and pond nine-spined sticklebacks.